A state of emergency continues in Bolivia where general elections are due to take place in July.
A state of emergency continues in Bolivia where general elections are due to take place in July. Recently the seven year old military government announced a general amnesty for its jailed and exiled opponents, following a mass hunger strike throughout the country. A further concession was made on Wednesday (25 January) when a three year old ban was lifted on trade union activities which followed weeks of labour unrest. Despite such measures the country's leader, President Hugo Banzer already has hinted the elections might be called off if there is further agitation for political reforms.
SYNOPSIS: During this interview General Banzar outlined his governments decision to place the Bolivian armed forces and police on a red alert.
He said that the government had decided to bring forward the elections, which were originally scheduled to take place in 1980, because they were part of what he termed `the process of change of the Bolivian state.' After the elections, he said, there was a possibility of changes in organisation and of consolidation.
General Banzer said that the state of emergency was device often used in Latin American countries. Yet as he said it seemed a strange decision to impose the state of emergency because Bolivia had lived for such a long time without the need to use it. And he went on to add that over the last few years, in fact for the last six years, the armed forces were very seldom in a state of emergency.
The decision to place the forces on a state of emergency was made according to previous rules. President Banzer said it had been taken to stop the actions which threatened to halt the elections. It was an aim of the government to lead the country to democracy. He said the proposed plans for the new constitution were being opposed and suppressed. This was creating a subversive atmosphere and was leading towards anarchy. He added that to neutralise the subversive attitudes it was logical to impose the state of emergency.